Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

food for thought

Malaysian Curry Laksa may well be my favourite thing to eat and for the first time I made my own (recipe here). I was a bit too cautious with the chilli but it was delicious. Making the paste is easy - or would be with a food processor (I haven't graduated beyond  a mortar and pestle, and hand egg beaters, but I kinda like it that way..). What I love about making my own is using fresh ingredients i.e. crap free chicken, good quality fish/ prawns, silken tofu....rather than fish balls and spongy tofu, to which I have forced myself to turn a blind eye in restaurants over the years. 

As for the tarts which have become a favourite here and are super easy to make, I've abandoned the pastry 'cos they are so good without. I just made the recipe up, which seems to always make enough to fill 9 holes in a muffin tin....
Beat together -
  • 2 or 3 eggs
  • a cup of almond meal
  • a dash of vanilla essence
  • a teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar 
  • this time I added 1/4 cup of cream but i don't think it's necessary
Then distribute strawberries and blueberries or which ever berries you have at your disposal, evenly between the oiled muffin tins, and pour almond mix evenly on top.

I baked them at 200 Celsius in our gas oven which has dodgy seals so maybe bake at 180 in a grown- up kitchen with stuff that works properly. (fellow renters will empathise..)

There's a fantastic new post over at Whole Larder Love about killing animals for one's own eating purposes - very inspiring. It's something  that Big Honey and I discuss and think about often. We have talked about buying chooks to fatten and slaughter for our own table. Big Honey also devised a pigeon trap for the many visitors to the chook run. Our Mediterranean neighbours have been eating their own rabbits, lambs and pigeons for years and have given us instructions which we are yet to carry out. I would love to be able to produce as much as possible in our quarter acre back yard, which seems to me to be big enough for a lot more. I read Novella Carpenter's wonderful book  Farm City : The Education of an Urban Farmer and got all starry eyed thinking surely we can produce more than fruit, veges, eggs and honey. I re read chapters of Etain Addey's A Silent Joy; Diary of a Hill Top Farm (one of my favourite books of all time), and dream of being a proper small scale farmer when I grow up.. Oh that we could graze a cow or a sheep or a goat in the back half of the neighbour's yard and make some cheese too... But I'm also realistic about time and circumstance and I know we are doing what we can now; and simple stuff like making bread and yoghurt and jam keeps me happy. 


Friday, January 18, 2013

reasons to be cheerful

 1) getting out of the house at last for a lovely day with dear friends in the city
2) op shop treasures and cool evenings
3) a lasagne that was sexy if I do say so myself...which had much to do with the pumpkin roasted in it's skin first, and a tomato sauce that had all the right bits....

4) consistently good long last.....

Sunday, January 13, 2013

this weekend

  Wind in the Willows at the Botanic Gardens (go and see it, it's REALLY funny) with a cameo appearance by Big Honey. A visit to Lavandula on their festival day. And a visit to our dear friends in Bendigo who are expecting their first wee one.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


So I flew off my bike on Monday, on a bike ride with Big Honey into the city to see a movie. I went to cross the tram tracks a bit too fast and my tires got stuck and I smacked to the bitumen with my hips doing some very unnatural stretching. Fortunately the road was quiet, I could drag myself to the curb, I was wearing decent knickers and Big Honey is very sweet and calm in a crisis. No broken bones, but some awesome scabs to show off to the kids when they come home tomorrow, and just very, very sore. The ground feels much harder when you're 45 doesn't it. I don't think it felt that hard at 25.Anyway, it has forced me to be at home and be very still, and to let Big Honey take the domestic reigns and to find some quiet activity so I don't go bonkers. So I worked on the White Tara painting I started a couple of years ago. It is in honour of our little friend Taj; a gift for his lovely parents and wee brother. Tara (of whom the Tibetans revere 21 manifestations) is compassion, long life, purity and equanimity. 

Big Honey has been doing some painting too - beautiful blue bee hives that will sit, splendid in orchard and field and house happy bees.

I'm thinking a lot about all the people affected/ threatened by fires around the country and wishing for them relief, safety, love and support. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

summer favourite

Every summer we prepare this meal. It's always different and always very good. Salmon and quinoa are the main ingredients and then anything else goes that we feel like adding. Tonight - Cavelo Nero (steamed and finely chopped), fried swiss brown mushrooms, home grown cucumber, fennel, pistachio nuts.....and a glass of Gewurtz, for the chef (sorry, shameless plugging of brother's wine...).....
marinated anchovies.....

red onion, red quinoa, lots of lemon......

 pan-fried salmon cutlets, boned and crumbled, and a good oily, vinaigrette with apple cider vinegar and garlic. I find quite a lot of dressing is needed as the quinoa soaks it up. When I eat Cavelo Nero I feel like Popeye. I dare the kids to eat it - super food that will turn them into super heroes. I figure it will work as long at it will work and then they'll just grow to love it too.

Friday, January 4, 2013

hot date

On the hottest day of the year so far what do you do to get through it? Go into the city, watch the longest film you can find (The Hobbit, 3 and a half hours...) and eat the mother of all curry laksas....

 The bread is working! The dutch oven is the key - apart from the beer and vinegar. I'm so happy. We spend a small fortune on good bread and now it just requires a little dedication to mixing the dough of an evening. It's crusty and has has a great flavour.

The cat size zucchini came via our dear 82 year old Greek neighbour. We caught him sneaking in on New Year's morning plotting to put it under one of our zucchini plants as if it had miraculously appeared over night. We adore him and his stories and his generosity and his wealth of experience (truly self-sufficient farmer of the old tradition before immigrating and working factory jobs) and his sense of humour. We sit and talk for hours in our back garden. Big Honey has a great friendship with him; they go fishing, they fix things, they help each other with their bees. They have a healthy competition as to who has the biggest, tastiest and most abundant produce, hence the cucumber tally.

Our New Year started peacefully. No resolutions - but I should probably stop drinking all this brother gifted us with some of his fine nectar and we are indulging.